Defence Minister Rajnath Singh reviewed the strategic joint command’s operational preparedness and infrastructure development at the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) in Port Blair on Thursday. Established in 2001, the 21-year-old military command is India’s first and the only Integrated Theatre Command that secures the maritime domain in Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
The visit assumes greater significance amid increasing Chinese forays into the Indian Ocean Region (IOR). It is aimed at providing strategic signalling, given the proximity of these far-flung islands to the Indo-Pacific, and also at boosting the morale of the troops deployed at the remote islands, said the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
“Commander-in-Chief Andaman and Nicobar Command (CINCAN), Lieutenant General Ajai Singh briefed the Minister about its geo-strategic importance, the role it can play in enhancing India’s influence and support to military operations in the area,” MoD said in its statement.
On his two-day maiden visit as Defence Minister to the headquarters of the joint services command of the country in Port Blair, Singh was briefed on the current situation and future plans for the region. Singh promised to do his best to support the initiatives. He also visited the ANC Joint Operations Centre (JOC), which is the nerve centre for integrated planning for surveillance, conduct of operations, and logistic support, and interacted with the troops deployed at the islands.
“The Andaman and Nicobar Command has played a vital role in strengthening our national security and keeping our maritime domain secure. Andaman and Nicobar Command has enhanced its operational capabilities since its establishment in 2001,” Singh said while interacting with the troops.
Rajnath Singh exuded confidence that the courage and dedication of the Armed Forces would create a golden future for the country. He assured the soldiers that the way they are always ready for the country’s security, the government, too, is always ready for their welfare. He added that the government is making all efforts to increase the efficiency and strength of the Armed Forces.
“Under the guidance of our Prime Minister, we have taken a firm step towards self-reliance. We have made giant strides towards realising the ‘Make in India, Make for the World’ vision. Our Armed Forces will soon be among the strongest militaries in the world. This is our vision as well as our mission,” he said.
On Friday, Singh will visit Indira Point at Campbell Bay, the southernmost tip of the Great Nicobar Islands, separated from Indonesia by the 163-km wide Six Degree channel through which all shipping traffic from the Malacca Strait to the West passes. It is estimated that this includes most Chinese shipping, making it a crucial strategic point for India. This is the first visit of the Defence Minister to Indira Point since January 2019.